Black Turnstone

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Scientific Information

Adult Black Turnstones in breeding plumage.
Black Turnstones (Arenaria melanocephala) in their breeding plumage is marked by a white eyebrow and lore spot. Unlike the Ruddy Turnstone, the Black Turnstone is a common breeder on the Seward Peninsula. They prefer wet meadow areas and river and creek deltas. In July they will group in large numbers along Shishmaref Inlet. They feed on insects and seeds. They will aggressively protect their nests flying more than 350 feet away from its nest to pursue jaegers and gulls. They will also forage by turning over stones as do Ruddies hence their name. The Valdez oil spill caused major issues for turnstones as it contaminated areas where they forage such as Montague Island, which is a staging area for them.

Community Information




Spoken Name

Relevant Site Information

Locally the Black Turnstone is not separated from the Ruddy Turnstone. They both have the same name and some believe that one was the male and the other the female. About seven Black Turnstones arrived in mid-May and some were seen near the mouth of Serpentine in early July.

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